How to ask for a pay rise

If you're thinking of popping the question to your employer, here are nine tips to help you get the salary increase you're after.

Asking your boss for a pay rise can be an intimidating conversation to have, particularly as broaching the subject won’t guarantee you actually get one.

But, as the saying goes—if you don’t ask, you don’t get—which is probably why 41% of Australian and New Zealand employees plan to raise the topic at their next review, with another 25% considering it.1

Depending on which way you choose to go, we’ve pulled together nine tips so you can enter the meeting feeling confident, prepared and with a backup plan, should things not quite go your way.

Your nine-point plan:

1. Do a self-evaluation

Before you put your hand out for more money, think about whether you’ve actually earned a raise.

A good way to gauge this is by reviewing your job description. Ask yourself whether you’ve met and exceeded expectations, and delivered consistent results and on time.

2. Know what your job is worth

Do some research and get an idea of what the market rate is for your position, bearing in mind experience and education.

Do a job search and see what the competitors are offering and check out salary comparison resources on websites like Hays and Hudson.

3. Choose your timing

You don’t have to wait for your performance review to ask for a raise but blindsiding your boss in the hallway or over email might not be appropriate. Arranging a face-to-face meeting is often preferable.

You should also give some consideration to how the business is faring. The most opportune time mightn’t be in the midst of redundancies or during a company restructure.

4. Dress appropriately

Different companies have different dress codes but whatever yours is, an appropriate outfit when you turn up for your meeting is important. A bit of extra effort could go a long way.

5. Be mindful of how you frame the conversation

Start the meeting with some positives about the company and the opportunities you’ve been given. Phrasing your request as a pay review rather than a pay rise could also sound less assuming.

It’s also wise to refrain from statements like—so and so earns more than me, I’m doing the work of three people, if I don’t get one I’m leaving. This can be threatening and have negative undertones.

6. Show how you’re different

Go in with examples you’ve prepared earlier—accomplishments, contributions, how you’ve helped to cut costs, additional work you’ve taken on and where you’ve turned negatives into positives.

Remember, figures can go a long way in quantifying what you’ve achieved, as can any additional documentation you’ve received from clients and colleagues highlighting your successes to date.

7. Have a figure in mind

Last year, 58% of employers increased salaries by less than 3%2. Regardless of this, knowing what your job is worth will help you to determine and justify to your employer the figure you put on the table.

Another factor to think about is whether you’re open to alternative rewards—bonus incentives, rostered days off, a car or phone allowance, or maybe even above mandatory super contributions.

8. Consider if you’re willing to take on more responsibility

Eliminating the need to hire another person could incentivise your employer to give you a pay rise in return for you taking on more responsibilities and a broader role.

9. Get ready to negotiate and follow up

If you don’t get the raise, don’t leave empty handed. A ‘no’ could simply mean, not yet. And, it provides an opportunity to get advice and set something up with your employer down the track.

Figure out a timeline and a date when you can revisit the discussion with your boss, and take down notes around what you can do to earn a raise before your next review so you have a goal to work towards.

Asking for a salary increase isn't always easy but hopefully these tips help you to get a step closer.

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© AMP Life Limited. This provides general information and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances before deciding what’s right for you. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any investment decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability (whether under contract, tort or otherwise) for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person.